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The Pure Balance series of dog food was conceptualized and eventually realized by Walmart in 2012 as an answer to the ever-increasing need of dog owners for a naturally-balanced, optimum quality, and truly affordable canine food. True enough, the brand has grown wide acceptance even to canine lovers who are very particular about what they give to their respective pets. Walmart’s extensive reach in consumer consciousness played well into the general acceptability of Pure Balance as a better alternative to high-end products which may not be readily available in supermarket or grocery store shelves.

This review of Pure Balance Dog Food is primarily geared for dog owners who are feeding their pets with premium quality canine chow but would like something more affordable and more readily accessible and available at their favorite stores, without necessarily sacrificing the nutrient quality of the dog food they have been using for so long. Hopefully, this article will also be helpful for those who want to move their dogs from a diet of mediocre quality, nutrient-deficient chow without having to worry about breaking their bank.

Pure Balance Dog Food Review

1 Pure Balance Wild & Free Grain Free Dog Food

Pure Balance Wild & Free Grain Free Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Pure Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Ground Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein
  • Primary Protein Source: Salmon
  • Calories: 373 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Salmon
  • Life Stage: All

Considered one of the bestsellers among the various products in the Pure Balance line, the Pure Balance Grain Free Formula Salmon & Pea Recipe Food for Dogs is perfect for younger pooches as well as older dogs because of the innate nature of salmon to be naturally rich in DHA and EPA. Salmon and salmon meal are the first 2 ingredients of this cereal grain-free formulation giving pooches with an exceptional protein-fat nutrient profile.

The DHA in salmon should help ensure better brain development in younger canines while this can also help minimize the symptoms of cognitive decline observed in older dogs. Peas provide a rich source of plant-based proteins that contain a variety of amino acids for optimum dog health. It is the combination of marine-based and plant-based proteins that make the Salmon & Pea Recipe quite an exceptional food for dogs.

Check out our review of the Best Senior Dog Food.

Ingredients:

Salmon, Salmon Meal, Dried Ground Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Fish Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Poultry Fat (preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Carrots, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Whole Potato, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Choline Chloride, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source Of Vitamin C), Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Niacin, D-calcium Pantothenate, L-carnitine, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source Of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

What others say about it:
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My dog has a sensitive digestive system. This food nourishes him and doesn’t upset his tummy at all. It’s also considerably less expensive than similar brands.

Read more buyer reviews at Amazon.com

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2 Pure Balance Wild & Free Bison Dog Food

Pure Balance Wild & Free Bison Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Pure Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Bison, Chicken Meal, Dried Ground Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein
  • Primary Protein Source: Bison, Ground Peas  & Chicken
  • Calories: 386 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Bison
  • Life Stage: All

If you’re looking for a replacement food for your dog that is exhibiting some kind of allergy to what it is currently eating, you’ll find the Wild & Free Bison, Pea, and Venison Recipe to be especially good for the job. Featuring real bison meat and venison, plus the addition of dried powdered peas as its plant-based protein, you’ll feel a lot safer that your dog won’t necessarily react to it.

Being novel proteins, your dog’s immune system will not mount an immunologic response typically seen in protein products that dogs have been constantly sensitized to. The Wild & Free formulation is also perfect for highly active dogs since it comes with higher protein content than usual. The Wild & Free still comes with the same Pure Balance grain free formulation that many dog owners have come to love and appreciate especially for their pets that may have exceptionally sensitive tummies. 

Take a look at this guide on Dog Food for Sensitive Stomachs.

Ingredients:

Bison, Chicken Meal, Dried Ground Peas, Tapioca, Pea Protein, Turkey Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Pork Flavor, Poultry Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Venison, Whole Flaxseed, Menhaden Fish Meal, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, L-Carnitine, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

What others say about it:
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I am very picky when it comes to my dog. I try to make sure he eats healthy. Before finding and trying Pure Balance Wild and Free, I was feeding him another high quality brand and spending upwards of 60 to 70 dollars for a 22-24 pound bag. While I do think that it’s worth it, I wanted to search for another food that would provide my dog with quality food and the proper nutrition at a lower price. I wouldn’t sacrifice quality for a lower cost. If it didn’t meet my standards, I wouldn’t even try it. However, if I can save a few dollars and the quality is supurb then why not? I researched the ingredients, nutrients, and also went on dogfoodadvisor for ratings. Of course I was a little hesitant to transition since he’s been fed the same brand for 6 years. But he loves it. He’s a happy, healthy dog! That saves close to 20 bucks per month too. I’m also glad they have a satisfaction guarantee. I highly recommend Pure Balance Wild and Free to anyone searching for a high quality food at a low price. My dog is at a healthy weight, clear eyes, shiny fur, great teeth, and happy!

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3 Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken & Pea Dog Food

Pure Balance Grain Free Chicken & Pea Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Pure Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Pea Starch
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 387 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Chicken remains an excellent source of protein especially for dogs. But if you really require a more calorie-dense dog food for your pooch that is very active, then the Pure Balance Grain Free Formula Chicken & Pea Recipe is a great choice. Containing chicken and chicken meal as its principal animal-based protein sources and coupled with plant-based proteins sourced from peas, you can bet that this is going to be a really healthy choice for active dogs.

Instead of the usual cereal grains supplying your dog’s energy requirements, what Pure Balance did was to incorporate potatoes instead to give your dog a resistant starch which helps improve insulin sensitivity by reducing insulin spikes. These ingredients are what supplies the Chicken & Pea Recipe the different vitamins and minerals that dogs need for healthier skin and coat, more optimized immune system, and better overall health, too. 

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Pea Starch, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseeds, Fish Oil (preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Dried Carrots, Pea Protein, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Sulfate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Methionine Complex, Citric Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Niacin Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, L-carnitine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source Of Vitamin C), Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract

What others say about it:
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My large Dalmatian loves this Dog Food.

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4 Pure Balance Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food

Pure Balance Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dog Food
Key features:
  • Brand: Pure Balance
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Dried Peas
  • Primary Protein Source: Chicken
  • Calories: 326 kcal/cup
  • Flavor: Chicken
  • Life Stage: All

Pure Balance’s brown rice recipe dry dog food is a rich source of protein with the use of high-quality chicken and chicken meal. Chicken has been proven as an effective and nutritious form of protein over the years, as it’s low in fat and high in omega 6 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and fur.  With the chicken and brown rice recipe, not only are they providing your dog with the lean meat to fuel their day, but additional healthy sources of protein such as peas and flaxseed.

There are no artificial flavorings, preservatives, or colorants, you are getting an all-natural food with only the most nutritional ingredients. The lack of corn, soy, and wheat in this recipe also means if your dog struggles with food intolerances, this food is far less likely to trigger a reaction. It has also proven to be particularly popular with picky pooches, as it has a rich flavor with none of the excess fat that is ordinarily associated with good taste, and at 382 calories per cup, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary weight gain so long as you follow the directions provided.

Read here our guide on Dog Food for Picky Dogs.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Dried Peas, Pea Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Poultry Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Flaxseed, Rice Bran, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Oatmeal, Dried Egg Product, Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dried Carrots, Menhaden Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Dried Cranberry, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Biotin, L-Carnitine, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid

What others say about it:
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I was very pleased with the product. My dogs love it and it’s there best price by far I can find!

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Pure Balance Dog Food Buying Guide

This Pure Balance dog food review aims to provide you with an in-depth analysis of the ingredients of this particular brand of doggie chow. Hopefully, this will enlighten you on whether to buy a Pure Balance dog food product or stick to what your dog is already eating.

Pure Balance Dog Food Ingredient Analysis

Pure Balance dog food follows the nutrition profile of other dog food brands that utilize premium quality ingredients and real animal proteins as its primary ingredient. The good news is that even if it does provide for such ingredients, Walmart somehow managed to keep its prices well within the budget range of average-income dog owners. It is this excellent combination of quality nutrition and affordability that makes Pure Balance dog food products a favorite alternative to premium ones.

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients of Pure Balance.

  • Animal proteins

In this Pure Balance dog food review, we observed that the very first ingredient of our top 3 picks is real animal proteins like salmon, bison, and chicken. With the exception of chicken, we can say that the formulation of Pure Balance reflects a clear understanding of the increasing need for more novel proteins. This is mainly due to the ever-growing incidence of food allergies that are attributed to the consumption of proteins.

You may also like our review of the Best Dog Food for Allergies.

Salmon is often touted as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids particularly DHA and EPA. These function in both the enhancement of brain and eye development and the boosting of the immune system, respectively. However, it should also be noted that while salmon is rich in DHA and EPA, it is essentially composed of 80% water or moisture. As such, when it is processed for formulation into dry kibbles, you can expect that the DHA and EPA content will also be significantly reduced. Nevertheless, the inclusion of salmon meal into the mix can help provide for better protein profile. Plus, salmon is rich in vitamins and mineral including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, selenium, and phosphorus. Head over to our review of salmon dog food for more alternatives.

Bison is a novel protein for the simple fact that it is rarely given to dogs as pet food. Bison meat contains as much as 55% protein and 45% fat and provides a complete list of the essential amino acids that dogs will need for building tissues. It also contains EPA and DHA as well as omega-6 fatty acids.

The same is true with deer meat or venison being a novel protein. What differentiates venison from bison meat is that it has more protein at about 60%. It comes complete with essential amino acids, too, and a near-ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 2.1:1. It’s rich in phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, too.

Chicken remains the standard animal protein for dogs. If your pooch doesn’t really have any issues with food allergies, then this is still one of the best proteins to give.

Check out our review of High Protein Dog Food.

  • Plant proteins

Pure Balance also provides proteins sourced from plants, particularly peas, which provides anywhere between 25% and 35%. One thing that is worth noting is that these also provide alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid. However, ALA has to be converted by the dog’s body into DHA and EPA for it to have a clinical benefit.

This is where our concern lies with the Pure Balance since it lists ALA in its guaranteed analysis. Our research of current scientific literature reveals that dogs are not particularly efficient when it comes to transforming ALA into either DHA or EPA. That is why experts strongly recommend directly providing dogs with EPA and DHA. As for the clinically observable benefits of ALA, most dog food reviews that claim ALA to be a potent antioxidant are most likely referring to another ALA – alpha lipoic acid.

Technically, they are both ALA – alpha-linolenic acid and alpha lipoic acid, but they are different. One is an omega-3 fatty acid while the other is a type of organosulfur compound that is derived from the octenoic acid caprylic acid. Another difference is that one is found only in plants while the other is normally synthesized by animals. Additionally, one also doesn’t have any clinically significant benefit while the other is an antioxidant. So, which is which?

Maybe it’s time for dog food manufacturers to set the record straight whether the ALA they put in their labels refers to the antioxidant, animal-sourced Alpha Lipoic Acid or the plant-based, EPA and DHA precursor known as Alpha Linolenic Acid.

  • Resistant Starches

In some of their products, Pure Balance provides a variety of resistant starches such as potatoes and a variety of fruits and vegetables. These are known to improve insulin sensitivity for a more efficient metabolism of glucose as well as more ideal body weight. While the resistant starches contained in Pure Balance are minimal, it points to the company’s understanding of optimum canine nutrition.

  • Healthy Carbs

In addition to the ingredients, we have listed above, Pure Balance also provides for healthier carbs mostly sourced from vegetables and fruits. Not only do these provide fiber for a healthier gut, but they also supply dogs with the correct levels of vitamins and minerals. These can assist a variety of processes including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune-enhancing, neurologic, and musculoskeletal health. At any rate, it is this combination of multivitamins and minerals with phytochemicals that makes Pure Balance products truly valued in this department.

Looking closely at the product lineup of Pure Balance, it contains an average of 31% protein and 17% fat with an estimated percentage of carbohydrates computed at around 45%. Pure Balance products also provide a fat to protein ratio computed at 54 percent. Taken as a whole, the products of Pure Balance can be taken as having near-average fat and above average protein. Its carbohydrate profile is considered to be below average. Interestingly enough, it’s noteworthy that while its principal ingredients are animal proteins, given the fact that majority of the listed ingredients are still plant-based, it is safe to assume that the amount of meat included into the formulation of Pure Balance is moderate.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Good balance of proteins and fats
  • Moisture and fiber content are at par with premium dog food brands
  • Uses real animal proteins as the principal ingredient
  • Includes novel sources of carbohydrates to minimize food intolerance
  • Readily available since it is manufactured by and sold at Walmart
  • Friendly price
Cons
  • Except for its price and its brand name, there’s really nothing substantially different from other dog food products
  • Less than satisfactory customer service support

Pure Balance Grain Free formulations offer a more practical solution to dog owners who may require premium-quality ingredients for their dogs. Unfortunately, there really is nothing spectacular to distinguish Pure Balance from other products besides the fact that it is produced and sold by Walmart. Interestingly enough, the protein and fat contents are considered above average. When taken together with its pricing scheme, this is perhaps one of the primary reasons why you might want to get Pure Balance for your pooch.

Eloise Hands

Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.

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